Tobias Putrih, Macula (Series B), 2006, Cardboard, Dimensions variable.

Tobias Putrih Works with MOS and a Proposal that May Never be Built

Baltic Centre
for Contemporary Art
Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road
+44 (0)191 478 1810
Level 2
Tobias Putrih and MOS

April 10-August 31, 2009

For the installation at BALTIC, Tobias Putrih has collaborated with MOS studio using software, developed by principle partner Michael Meredith that calculates and generates optimal equilibrium structures. Experimenting with different parameters, they have used Styrofoam cubes and stack structures according to the basic rules of equilibrium and ‘maximum overhang stacking’ to produce a super lightweight structure on the verge of collapse. During assembly parts of the structure are supported and then the supports removed as the structure’s interlocking elements develop, creating non-equilibrium parts in equilibrium. The structure will reach high into the Level 2 space (ceiling height: 7.3meters) lending a strange monumentality to the work. A smaller brutally heavy structure from concrete acts as a model, or vice versa creating an interesting narrative.

  Putrih’s work is informed by the breakdown of cultural communication between Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. His work finds its roots in the history of modernist utopian architecture, but nearly every one of his constructions undermines the seriousness and assuredness of their references. With a calculated instability, Putrih’s work exists between science, sculpture and architecture. Exploring the potential of an idea, his works could be considered proposals for objects or architectural spaces that will probably never be built. Many of his makeshift structures use materials such as cardboard and sticky tape. The resulting temporary objects beg questions about their own fragile existence, leaving irresolution and doubt; Putrih suggests every utopia anticipates a possible meltdown and every system of knowledge has its black holes.   This exhibition is presented at a time when the fragility of modernist utopian architecture can be seen on BALTIC’s doorstep as Alessandro Vincentelli, Acting Head of Programme explains: “Presenting Tobias’ work at this time is acutely poignant as we are on the eve of The Trinity Square Car Park, an iconic example of modernist architecture in Gateshead, being demolished. Western art and architecture and Putrih’s scepticism of its success is at the very heart of his work. His collaboration with Michael Meredith from MOS has resulted in an imposing towering structure whose precariousness can be contrasted to much of our own city skyline.”


Tobias Putrih, Screening Space Related to What is a Thought Experiment, Anyhow? By Runa Islam, 2007-2008, Cardboard, tape, Styrofoam, OSB plates, monofilament, metal hooks, fluorescent tubes, lights, color filters, film projectors, and screens, 26.25 x 39.37 x 16.4 feet approx., 8 x 12 x 5 meters approx.